(out of 5)
A tugboat captain (Jean Gabin) saves a freight liner in the middle of a stormy night only to be cheated out of his conquest by the ship’s greedy captain. He also meets the captain’s emotionally abused wife (Michèle Morgan) and falls madly in love with her, despite having a wife to look after back home. The reed-slim storyline is gorgeously coated by the atmospheric photography in this French melodrama, replete with rich characters, strong dialogue and wonderful performances. Gabin is at his cigarette-smoking, all-too-cool best (the French Bogart, I believe he is called, though he’s actually so much more) and Morgan is, as always, stunning. The film’s shooting was interrupted in 1939 because of the outbreak of the second World War, and wasn’t completed until two years later.
Directed by Jean Gremillon
Cinematography by Armand Thirard
Music by Roland Manuel
Production Design by Alexandre Trauner
Film Editing by Yvonne Martin